• While Barkindji teen, Amelia Whyman, misses going to the river with her family, she wants people to share the message that lockdown is for our own protection. (NITV)Source: NITV
13-year-old, Amelia Whyman, has broadcast a staunch message, as COVID-19 cases appear in her home community of Wilcannia.
By
Shahni Wellington, Karen Michelmore

Source:
NITV News
18 Aug 2021 - 4:40 PM  UPDATED 18 Aug 2021 - 4:51 PM

As far as young leaders go, 13-year-old Amelia Whyman is on the money. 

With COVID-19 infiltrating her remote outback community, the Barkindji teenager has delivered a blunt but passionate message to her town, to young and old alike. 

“If you want to be back to normal, just walk around the town... to be back how it was, then I suggest just listen to the rules and do as you are told,” the Wilcannia Central School student says in a video message. 

Aboriginal people account for two thirds of cases in the growing western NSW COVID cluster, with 40 per cent young people, aged between 10 and 19. 

'Do your job’: Outback community demands action after three new COVID cases in tiny town
Barkindji Elder Badger Bates says he’s worried for his community, as a young family of three becomes the first confirmed cases of COVID in Far Western Wilcannia.

There are now three cases, a young family, in the remote Far West town of 700 people, about 1000km north west of Sydney. 

Amelia said she was scared for her community, and has urged everyone to do what they can to keep the community safe.  

“The thing that scares me the most is... it's really a high risk of that people can actually catch this virus and get very sick,” she said in the video message. 

“We can lose some family members. 

“If we do something to help each other protect each other...if we just follow the rules, then maybe this can lead to a better situation. 

“A better solution that can help the community to be how (it) used to be and not to be all in lockdown so you can't really see your family members.” 

"To protect the community"

Authorities and community members have urged young people to stay at home due to risk of becoming infected or being carriers of COVID-19. 

Amelia said while the lockdown in Wilcannia was tough, it is necessary. 

"It has to be strict enough because kids around Wilcannia, they like to walk around, like to get around and get a little bit of movement around,” she said. 

It's a bit of a struggle when they have to stay in lockdown for their own safety, to protect the community and also the babies. And also to help the Elders be safe and help their friends or family.  

The virus is real, it's getting around. 

Amelia said she was looking forward to seeing her friends,  and hanging out at the river, once the lockdown is over. 

“The things that I miss is being able to move around and just be able to visit people, but now it's locked down it's pretty hard,” she said. 

“When you're not in lockdown you have fun, you can go up to the river, you can enjoy life.  

“But in lockdown, it's not that fun because... you're with the same people every day.  

“Yes, we love them but it's not the same as to when we didn't have COVID.” 

A family's plea

Amelia's father, Owen Whyman, fears the virus could spread rapidly, with only one grocery store in Wilcannia. 

He urged people travelling through the region to stay away. 

“We encourage the caravaners, if you’re out there, think about our little community,” he said. 

"We’re really trying to protect our community. 

So if you are out there, please don't stop in our community, keep going by, we don't want this to spread any further than it is.  

“We care about our community, and our people - Just keep on driving. Don't stop.” 

'Nobody cared until now': Western NSW communities reeling over new COVID cases
A person tested positive after attending a funeral in Wilcannia last week, sparking fears the small town may not be able to cope with more cases.